Emiko and Chizu Omori in 2002 (Hokubei Mainichi)
Emiko and Chizu Omori in 2002 (Hokubei Mainichi)

SAN JOSE — “Not Your Typical Nisei: JA Women and Adventures in Identity” will be presented on Saturday, March 14, at 1 p.m. at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, 535 N. Fifth St. in San Jose Japantown.

This will be a lively discussion on how expectations and stereotypes have challenged and shaped Japanese American women, as well as the development of their identities. Using the experiences of sisters Emiko and Chizu Omori, as a jumping-off point, well-known activist Susan Hayase will be the moderator. She will lead a discussion on the familial, cultural, and societal expectations and restrictions facing Japanese American women and how they have learned to navigate them in the course of creating their own identities.

When asked about their generational experiences, many Nisei will claim they are “not a typical Nisei.” But what is typical and not typical about Nisei women’s lives, and how have their stories influenced the development of younger generations of JA women’s identities? Attendees of all generations will be provided the opportunity to share their own experiences and thoughts on growing up JA and female, with reflections on lessons learned from the experiences of those who came before them.

Nisei, Sansei, and Yonsei women are encouraged to attend, along with women and men of all backgrounds. Intergenerational discussion is definitely encouraged, so bring family and friends.

  • Emiko Omori is an-award winning cinematographer and director who has worked on more than 20 films, including several award-winning documentaries. She began her career as a filmmaker and cinematographer in 1968, when there were few camerawomen and fewer still Asian American camerawomen in the United States. Her films include “Rabbit in the Moon” (1999), “Passion & Power: The Technology of Orgasm” (2007), and “Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World” (2010). In 2000, “Rabbit in the Moon” won the Emmy Award for “Outstanding Historical Programming.”
  • Chizu Omori was raised on farms in Southern California and incarcerated for 3½ years in the Poston, Ariz., concentration camp. After graduating from UC Berkeley, she married and raised two children. Omori then moved to Seattle, where she joined and became a plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit sponsored by the National Council for Japanese American Redress (NCJAR). Omori is a freelance journalist, has written for The International Examiner, and is currently writing for The Nichi Bei Weekly of San Francisco. She co-produced “Rabbit in the Moon.”
  • Susan Hayase is a long-time activist in the San Jose Japanese American community. She served as vice chair of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund board and was an R&D engineer in Silicon Valley for more than 30 years.

Cost: Free with admission to the museum (non-members, $5; students and seniors over age 65, $3; JAMsj members and children under 12, free). Email PublicPrograms@jamsj.org or call (408) 294-3138 to reserve a spot.

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